With the demise of Warp, The Fanzine Scope is once more looking for a home. Would you like this column to appear regularly in your fanzine? I'll make you the same deal I had with Rapp: you pay for the stencils and I will furnish this column all cut and ready to run off. Write me at 816 Westboro Ave., Alhambra, California. Unreliable editors need not apply. Fanzine Scope has now outlasted VAMPIRE and SPACEWARP. Can it outlast your fanzine?
Key to ratings: EXCEPTIONAL, you can't live without it. INTERMEDIATE, worth getting, but not worth slashing your wrists over if you miss an issue. ALSO RECEIVED, something I cannot recommend one way or the other. NOT RECOMMENDED, not even good enough to tack up in your privy.
EXCEPTIONAL. Fantasy Advertiser, Roy Squires, 1745 Kenneth Road, Glendale 1, Calif. 15¢ each, 75¢ a year. Vol 4, No 3, July 1950. The usual melange of serious articles on stfantasy and its personalities, copiously interspersed with advertising. If you collect, sell, trade, or read fantasy or stf you cannot do without this one.
EXCEPTIONAL. Science Fiction News Letter, Bob Tucker, Box 260, Bloomington, Illinois. 10¢ each, 3/25¢, 6/50¢. July 1950. This cleanly photolithed job comes out with the monotonous regularity of a metronome, and does a pretty good job of covering news in the microcosmos. Only fault I can find with it is that it seem slanted too much towards the pros. But it is still one of the best newszines of all fannish time, and the only good one published currently.
EXCEPTIONAL. Shangri La, Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, 236 ½ North New Hampshire, Los Angeles 4, Calif. 15¢ each. #20.
Since I am on a special list down at the LASFS, I had to have this copy bootlegged to me. And under the terms which Sneary laid down, I must not say anything derogatory about the LASFS in connection with reviewing their club organ. Heh.
The reason I am rating Shangri-La as EXCEPTIONAL, is that it contains one of the best articles I have ever seen in a fanzine, an item which in my considered opinion is easily the fan article of the year 1950. I am referring to "Pipsqueak Prometheus" by William Blackbeard, a devastating dissection and evaluation of L. Ron Hubbard and dianetics.
Since dianetics can not be criticized without merely revealing that the critic is "either a moron or a psychotic" (see Hubbard in the current Brass Tacks in Astounding), Blackbeard has chosen to analyze Hubbard himself, and through him the so-called science of dianetics. He has done a painstaking, thoroughly documented, and lucid job; and has highlighted it with a number of glorious punchlines.
If you have the faintest interest in dianetics, pro or con, or if you like high-class iconoclasm, you've got to read Blackbeard's article.
The presentation is horrible. This is the worst mimeo job I've seen come out of the LASFS since the days of Degler. The stenciling too is putrid, a whole section being left out and sandwiched in near the end. And to top it off, six pages of extraneous crud are stuck into the middle of the article, without any vestige of "continued on page ?" signposts. It is a pity that so fine an article couldn't have had halfway decent presentation. As it is, you have to strain your eyes to read the smudgy lines and your ingenuity to trace this article through the scattered pages. But it's worth it; it's well worth it!
On rereading my comments on Blackbeard's opus, I see I sound as though I were "anti" dianetics. This is not the case. On dianetics itself I am both open-minded and interested. I neither "believe" nor "disbelieve" in it, but on the strength of being about halfway through the book, I am intrigued to the extent of investigating for myself. The only thing I am "anti" is some of the amazing statements and antics surrounding the brave new science. For one thing, I would like to know if L. Ron Hubbard was too busy writing the book to be cleared, or if one of the stigmata of the clear is to be a loud-mouthed braggart. I should also like to know if the sponsors of dianetics believe that such outbreaks as featured in the current Brass Tacks can do anything to attract the non-crackpot, non-believing element, the people by whom dianetics must be tested if it is to be anything more glorified than a materialistic, pseudo-scientific faith cure. The aura of crackpotism surrounding dianetics thus far rather distresses me. I am somewhat inclined to the view that L. Ron may actually have stumbled onto something -- the book, so far at least, is plausably if sloppily written, does not especially contradict what little I know about psych. Hubbard gives you what is supposed to be enough technique to prove or disprove his contentions for yourself, a mark of self-confidence to say the least. At the moment I think there is about one chance in a thousand that Hubbard has made an excessively vital contribution to civilization. But it is likely to be discredited and lost if the crackpots, including maybe even Hubbard himself, are permitted to move in and make a second Rosicrucian Faith out of what should be a psychiatric technique.
All that of course is a side-issue to Blackbeard's article. I recommend that if you've not already read it you buy, borrow or steal a copy. It should give you something really to sink your teeth in.
INTERMEDIATE. Incinerations -- from effigy. Grape Press, 9109 SW Oleson Road, Portland 19, Oregon. 10¢ each or 10/$1. 1-2 This half-legal item runs strong to satire, some of which is very good. We also note an Insurgent-like attitude towards dianetics and the antics of the Norwescon committee. Next issue promises a full expose of the wave of resignations which has hit the convention committee, and should be rather intriguing. By and large, this looks like a mag to keep up with. Best item in the current issue is the vaguely Hemmel-like Seance and Unsanity which appears to be a serial. It is wonderful gobbledegook interspersed with occasional snappers.
INTERMEDIATE. The Fanzine Editor, Lee D. Quinn, Box 1199, Grand Central Stn, New York City 17. #1, July 1950. Free to editors, 10¢ to others. This item is neat and clear. This boy Quinn seems to be one of those characters who's hipped on "service", and much of his own remarks are amusingly stilted and stuffy. But he has produced here a fanzine which is not only legible, but on the whole highly readable. Whether it will help fan editors or not I don't know; I rather doubt it, because it is futile to tell someone how to publish a fanzine -- he'll go ahead the way he wants to anyway. (I say this with full knowledge of what I wrote on pp. 8-18 of this very Warp!) But it makes for an enjoyable half-hour of reading -- why not send for it? The feature article -- Art Rapp telling all about Warp -- is alone worth the dime.
ALSO RECEIVED. Hurkle. Redd Boggs, 2215 Benjamin St. NE, Minneapolis 18, Minn. A SAPSzine. #2, July 1950. This four-pager is not Boggs at his best. I found the most readable part of it to be the post card from Burbee: "Well, I just read Hurkle and I'll never be the same. I hope you won't be, either." I guess it's just too esoteric for us non-SAPS to enjoy very much.
NOT RECOMMENDED. Universe, Ray Nelson, 453 E. Chapin, Cadillac, Mich. 10¢ each, 3/25¢. "Eugene Seger Special Issue". Ugh. Well, how would you rate a fanzine which consisted almost exclusively of a "condensation" of an amateur stf story? Bah!
NOT RECOMMENDED. Eusifanso, Rosco Wright, Eugene Science-Fantasy society, Box 161, Eugene, Oregon. 10¢, 6/50¢, 12/$1. Three issues: May June and June (sic). Unless this gang is having a lot of fun with their magazine, they are wasting time and paper. Eusifanso is hand-set and printed, and as the owner and occasional user of a 7x11 job press I can appreciate to the full the incredible amount of labor it represents. The trouble is that this bunch is letting a preoccupation with the mechanics of printing blind them to the necessity of providing readable material. Further, they aren't even getting a professional looking product -- type choice and page arrangement is strictly amateurish, though improving from issue to issue. In the three issues, the only passable items are a brief, documented expose of The so-called American Rocketry Association; and a solid, first-class article by Rick Sneary deploring the way pros are getting control of the conventions, if that worries you which it doesn't me but it is still a fine, well-expressed article. The rest of the three issues are disjointed newsnotes, poetry, some incomprehensible esoteric babble about a mugwump tree, and other crud.
The reason I'm raving here at such length is that these folks should be putting out something glorious. They have their own press and type, and despite my snide remarks about the amateurish results they are improving enough to show they are mastering their medium. They evidently have time to burn, what with 36 pages of printing in three months. They have some nice looking illustrative work by Rosco Wright, a not incompetent linoleum-blocker. Why then in god's name don't these guys get some good material? They could give us the sort of fanzine to show to non-fan friends.
Why, if nothing else, they could publish THE COLLECTED WORKS OF CHARLES BURBEE, prefaced by a eulogy of this great writer written especially for the anthology by none other than Charles Burbee himself.
NOT RECOMMENDED. Dawn, Russell K. Watkins, ((somewhere in Kentucky)). Sub rates ??. #10, August 1950. Nine of this fanzine's 15 pages either run off the bottom of the page altogether by as much as two inches, or else are not inked at the bottom of the page. The address and subscription rates omitted above are among the casualties. This is a disgusting mess. Dawn is a letterzine modeled on the late lamented Vom. The mechanical work has so consistently been loused up through unbelievably rancid stenciling and inept mimeography that it is slight wonder the editor talks of folding up for lack of subscriptions. If he'd cut clear, accurate stencils and run them off decently he'd be swamped with both subscriptions and letters. Vom ran 50 issues, didn't it?
NOT RECOMMENDED. Odd, Duggie Fisher, 1302 Lester St, Poplar Bluff, Mo. 10¢, I guess. Just juvenalia. OK if you like such.
Text versions and page scans Judy Bemis
Data entry by Judy Bemis
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